Did you know that most Americans are living with stress levels significantly higher than what psychologists believe to be healthy? One out of 4 people say that they are not doing enough to manage their stress. Are you one of those people? This, according to the American Psychological Association, is one of the biggest threats to our health, success and well-being.
How does stress affect you? Most people get crippled by it. Symptoms of overwhelm include disorganization, lack of clarity, frustration, anger, ineffectiveness and a lack of satisfaction in your job and your life. Why tolerate this when the answer to relieving your stress and boosting your productivity are so simple?. Here are 5 super-easy hacks that will make an immediate difference in the quality of your day:
1. JUST ONE CALENDAR: Simplify your life by using only one calendar. There is NO reason to use different calendars for work, home, etc. The more tools you use, the messier you get. Google Calendar is my app of choice, it allows me to view my family member’s calendars and plan with the big picture in mind. It seamlessly translates to PC, Apple and is usable on any device. It lives in the cloud, so I’m safe from data loss.
2. TIME BLOCK: To do lists are for losers! Lists are only good for making you feel ineffective. Instead, assign every task a time in your calendar, just like you would an appointment. If it’s not important enough to rate a slot, stick it in a list you call your Parking Lot for later assimilation. For more information on timeblocking, click here.
3. GUARD YOUR TIME: Stop saying yes to stuff that sucks the life out of you, you don’t enjoy or that is not crucial to your goals and/or happiness. This is not only applicable to activities, but to people too. You know that old saying about “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future?” This is truer than we all probably want to admit. It’s time to cut the anchors free. Regarding time, Americans are now busier than we’ve ever been before and it is ridiculous. Busy DOES NOT equal important, it just equals stupid. Time and energy are your two most valuable resources and if you are wasting either, you are shooting yourself in the foot every day.
4. SET CLEAR PRIORITIES: This goes hand-in-hand with #3. “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” This quote is all about priorities. If you don’t know what is important to you, you become a victim of everyone else’s priorities. Establish your “Top 10” and say no to anything that robs from that list. If it’s not on the list, the answer is ALWAYS “no thank you.”
5. REBOOT: If YOU aren’t in the top 3 of your priority list, you’ve got it wrong. Human beings need to be rebooted from time to time, just like computers. If you never refill your “energy tank,” you will run on empty until you burn out… and burn out is ugly. I suggest that you timeblock reboot time/activities daily, or AT LEAST weekly. What activities give you energy? What hobbies fill you with energy and revitalize you? If you are not sure, look to the things you do where you get lost in time… you look up and 5 hours just passed… most of the time, these are things you LOVE.
Stress is NOT a requirement for success. In fact, the most successful people I know and coach have very little consistent stress in their lives. They know how to eliminate activities and people that suck the life out of them and they are committed to behaviors that get them closer to their goals and increase their happiness and satisfaction in life.
CALL TO ACTION: Complete your Top 10 Priority list right now. Then, choose one of these productivity hacks and commit to turn it into habit over the next 30 days.